Plans for reforms

PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau yesterday announced the Government’s ambitious plans for reforms and development in the coming years, as initially promised in the FijiFirst manifesto.

Chief among them are plans to boost economic activity while at the same time looking after those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale.

In his presidential address to Parliament, he announced plans for land, the health sector, and education as well as plans to give free medicine, free water and electricity subsidies to low income earners.

“My Government will increase the electricity subsidy for low-income families from the current 75 kilowatts per hour to 85 kilowatts per hour,” Ratu Epeli said.

“My Government will provide 91,250 litres of water free of charge per year to Fijian households earning less than a total income of $30,000.”

He said $10million would be set aside to help iTaukei landowners subdivide and develop their land and reap commercial benefits from it.

“The funding will be made available as grants to assist landowners to meet development costs, such as the provision of electricity, water and roads.”

And as promised in the FijiFirst manifesto, all State land on which squatters have been living will be subdivided and squatters will be given 99 year leases.

“Negotiations will also be held with iTaukei landowners and, with their consent, to give 99-year residential leases to squatters.

“This initiative will extend to the whole country.”

He also said the Government would revise the national minimum wage upwards to $2.32 per hour on from July 1 next year.

Ratu Epeli also announced – in line again with FijiFirst policies – that his Government would reform the TELS scheme and extend free education to recognised and accredited pre-schools.

“By 2016, TELS will be extended to those who already have a diploma or who are in the workforce and want to gain formal qualifications.”

And Ratu Epeli also assured that the elderly are not being forgotten with reforms to the social security system planned as well.

“My Government will continue with the existing social security system for those pensioners who have never been a member of the FNPF and will lower the age of eligibility to 68 from 1 July 2015 and then further lower it to the age of 66 from 1 July 2016.”

He also announced wide sweeping development in the health sector saying Government would provide all medicine prescribed by a doctor and currently under price control for all Fijians who earn less than $20,000 a year.

Ratu Epeli also said the Government would provide land and funding to Fiji National University to establish a world class tertiary hospital in Lautoka.

And the new hospital will provide free medical procedures for those earning under $20,000 and retirees irrespective of whether they are on a pension or not.

He added the government would take control of fuel imports in a move he said would allow Fiji to earn money from the sale of fuel and also establish price stability.

“My Government will provide 91,250 litres of water free of charge per year to Fijian households earning less than a total income of $30,000.”

He said $10million would be set aside to help iTaukei landowners subdivide and develop their land and reap commercial benefits from it.

“The funding will be made available as grants to assist landowners to meet development costs, such as the provision of electricity, water and roads.”

And as promised in the FijiFirst manifesto, all State land on which squatters have been living will be subdivided and squatters will be given 99-year leases.

“Negotiations will also be held with iTaukei landowners and, with their consent, to give 99-year residential leases to squatters.

“This initiative will extend to the whole country.”

He also said the Government would revise the national minimum wage upwards to $2.32 per hour on from July 1 next year.

Ratu Epeli also announced, in line again with FijiFirst policies, that his Government would reform the TELS scheme and extend free education to recognised and accredited pre-schools.

“By 2016, TELS will be extended to those who already have a diploma or who are in the workforce and want to gain formal qualifications.”

Ratu Epeli also assured that the elderly were not forgotten with reforms to the social security system planned as well.

“My Government will continue with the existing social security system for those pensioners who have never been a member of the FNPF and will lower the age of eligibility to 68 from 1 July 2015 and then further lower it to the age of 66 from 1 July 2016.”

He also announced wide sweeping development in the health sector saying Government would provide all medicine prescribed by a doctor and currently under price control for all Fijians who earn less than $20,000 a year.

Ratu Epeli also said the Government would provide land and funding to Fiji National University to establish a world-class tertiary hospital in Lautoka.

And the new hospital would provide free medical procedures for those earning under $20,000 and retirees irrespective of whether they were on a pension or not.

He added the government would take control of fuel imports in a move he said would allow Fiji to earn money from the sale of fuel and also establish price stability.

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